Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform designed to help a variety of businesses meet their aims, goals and organisational needs with ease. It offers a range of tools and facilities to support a wide range of organisations, with a huge amount of flexibility.
Before investing in Microsoft Azure, it’s important to be aware of how the platform works and the potential benefits to your business. In this article, we cover everything you need to know about Microsoft Azure, including the different products and services, pricing and how it can help to transform your business.
What is Microsoft Azure?
Microsoft Azure is a cloud-computing platform aimed at businesses. The platform includes solutions that can aid with services like analytics, storage and networking. It essentially offers 4 different types of cloud computing for customers:
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
Although there is a range of cloud computing platforms available on the market, Microsoft Azure is one of the most popular in the industry. In order to access all of the services the platform offers, all you need is a stable internet connection and accessibility to the Azure portal.
The History of Microsoft Azure
The Microsoft Azure platform was first announced by Ray Ozzie (Mircosoft’s former Chief Software architect) back in 2008. It wouldn’t be until 2010 that the platform became available commercially to customers.
Beginning originally under the name Windows Azure, the name was reconsidered in 2014 and rebranded as Microsoft Azure. Though originally launched to critical reviews, Microsoft Azure has developed dramatically over the past 10 years, becoming one of the leading cloud computing platforms in the world.
How does Microsoft Azure work?
After becoming a subscriber to the Microsoft Azure platform, a customer is able to access a host of services and solutions, as well as the Azure Portal. These services can be utilised to build cloud-based resources like, for example, databases.
As well as the services that customers can find within the Azure portal, there is also a range of third-party vendors with software made directly available via the platform. The costs of these applications vary and can involve both subscription and usage fees.
Within Microsoft Azure, customers receive 5 different levels of support options or tariffs:
- Professional Direct
All of these vary in levels of service, and therefore in price.
What is Microsoft Azure used for?
One of the main reasons Microsoft Azure is so popular is because its capabilities are so diverse. However, one of the most common and popular reasons businesses turn to the platform is assistance with running virtual machines (VM).
Microsoft Azure’s compute resources also maintain infrastructure components like domain name system (DNS,) servers and internet information services (IIS). In addition, the platform allows the function of operating systems, for example, Linux.
Businesses often seek out the Azure services to assist with hosting databases within the cloud. These solutions can be serverless in the form of Azure SQL, or non-relational databases like NoSQL.
Microsoft Azure is championed for its services that support backup and disaster recovery functions. Popularly, this aids companies to achieve retention requirements surrounding data.
It’s also becoming a popular platform for businesses wanting to host their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems such as Sage 200 in the cloud. You can read more about the benefits associated with this in our informative article; Sage 200 on Microsoft Azure – A Full Cloud Solution.
Microsoft Azure Products and Services
Microsoft Azure is highly respected for its vast range of services and products. These can be broken down into a number of individual categories:
A range of Azure products is on offer to assist developers in building cloud applications for a variety of mobile devices. This includes the creation of notification services, solutions for back-end tasks and everything you need to create application program interfaces (APIs). It also provides the options to work geospatial context with a range of data and assistance with transforming web apps to mobile apps.
Microsoft Azure provides services to help maintain virtual machines, batch jobs and containers, as well as the ability of remote service access. These compute resources within the Azure cloud allow you to configure both public and private IP addresses.
Within Microsoft Azure, you can also meet all of your business storage needs. This sizable storage facility can maintain both structured and unstructured data. Alongside this, Azure can also assist with storing archival work, and large data projects.
This specific service assists with both developing and launching website applications. Within it, this platform offers solutions for search options and the delivery of content. Alongside this, you’ll also find support with API management.
With these services, your business can have access to real-time analytics. You can also access machine learning, business intelligence and data warehousing.
This category involves virtual networks and the creation of connections and gateways. The service ensures that all communications are private and secure. It also provides solutions for traffic management and diagnostics.
Media and Content Delivery Network
This distributed network of servers allows online web content and media to be effectively delivered. The content delivery network supports on-demand streaming and improves the quality of media playback. Overall, this helps to boost the experience of end-users.
Azure integration services assist with the connecting of independent systems, for example, public and private clouds. This service also assists with site recovery and backup. Integration services provide simple solutions for combing complex pathways.
Identity services focus on the security of access within the Azure cloud. Essentially, it ensures that only those with authorised access are able to navigate the range of Azure services. This service also assists with encryption and the protection of sensitive data you may have in the cloud. Among these services is the Azure Active Directory.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Within this service, businesses are assisted with the creation, maintenance and launch of artificial intelligence systems (AI.). You can access a range of tools to help with language and decision making AI-models, to create your own artificial intelligence solutions. All of these resources help to infuse machine learning into your online applications.
Within Azure’s blockchain solutions, you are able to join a consortium with ease. Alternatively, you can look to create your own. The Azure blockchain service is a managed ledger service, providing customers to operate these blockchain networks.
Within this category, you can find service solutions such as Azure DevOps, to assist with tools needed for collaborative group projects. This means that teams of people can plan work and deploy collaborations with ease. These services work to support bringing a range of professionals together in the workspace.
How much does Microsoft Azure cost?
When subscribing to Microsoft Azure, the platform works on a pay-as-you-go model. These charges align with your usage, meaning that you receive a billing at the end of each month for the services you have used.
For this reason, it’s important for a business to regularly review and manage their Azure cloud to ensure all services are consistently necessary and budget accordingly. While the basic customer support package is available to all Azure users at no extra cost, the other tariffs will cost you extra.
Beginning at around £25 and reaching beyond £800 per month for higher customer support packages, it’s worth considering your business’s direct needs in this regard.
How Microsoft Azure can Digitally Transform your Business
With its vast and extensive range of services, there is no doubt that Microsoft Azure has the potential to digitally transform your business when utilised correctly. Often described as having “limitless potential”, Microsoft Azure provides all the tools to assist in meeting your digital challenges and limitations head-on.
The flexibility of Azure packages and services means that no matter the sector of your business, you can find solutions to transform your business for the better.
To conclude, there are countless benefits to investing in the limitless world of Microsoft Azure. With over 200 services on offer, made flexible to your needs and requirements, there really are limitless possibilities for your business.
Azure is without a doubt becoming one of the biggest cloud-computing platforms in the world, committed to digitally transforming businesses for the better. If you’re considering trying Microsoft Azure for your business, trial periods are offered so you can assess the platform and how well it can work for you.
Digitally Transform with Eventura
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we’ve helped countless businesses digitally transform by making the move to Microsoft Azure. We’re specialists in Microsoft Azure migrations, and as providers of managed IT services and both Sage 200 and NetSuite ERP systems, we can scope and deliver projects where nothing is forgotten about.
Our team of expert business analysts, developers, consultants, technicians and support staff will help you identify all of your business requirements in order to create a game-changing business solution.
If you would like to speak to one of our experts and begin your digital transformation, you can request a free call back here.